Feeling morally bankrupt? Welcome to the club, we have jackets...

I’d like to begin this post with a short disclaimer:
As you’ll understand when you read this post, I’m aware that what I’ve been feeling and thinking of over the past few days is morally reprehensible.
Those of you looking to pass judgment are free to do so, of course. All I ask is that you offer some form of constructive advice. I’m sure I’m not the only doper to have ever felt this way, so to those of you who’ve gone through this – I’d like to hear about it.

Close on 2 ½ years ago, I hooked up with a friend. We were both single at the time, both attracted to each other, and took the plunge with reckless abandon. The sex was the best we both ever had, but more pertinently, the connection between us was cerebral rather than physical or emotional. We were both highly driven and accomplished at what we do, we enjoyed the same music, the same books, the same fucking drinks for Christ’s sake. We could talk for hours at stretch without getting bored, and everything felt natural .This went on for about 3 months, till one day she broke up with me pretty fucking cold-bloodedly without the benefit of a viable reason for doing so. Every relationship has a little hiccup in the early stages that becomes a moment of truth – those couples that get past it usually have great relationships, but a lot of couples don’t make it. We became a statistic for the latter.
Anyway, I was pissed and we didn’t speak for a while, but I eventually decided that I didn’t want to hold a grudge, so a few months later when she called, we pretended like those three months never happened. She was grateful, and has since mentioned to me that breaking up with me was the biggest mistake she’d ever made. She’s halfway across the globe in London now and we’re in touch through email, msn, or the phone maybe once a month or so. Emotionally and otherwise, I’d completely moved on within a couple of months, give or take.

A year ago I started seeing this wonderful girl. She’s bright, funny, attractive, and one of the most genuine and caring people I’ve ever met. We started dating only a month or so after we met, and have been seeing each other for about fifteen months now. This one is a keeper, people. We love each other a great deal, and will probably go the distance in a couple of years.

Here’s where the problem starts.

I’ve been feeling a little burnt out at work over the last few months, and I have my boss’ blessing to take a holiday. I’d love to see Europe, but my girlfriend can’t come, so I was thinking of going alone, and trudging across Italy, France and Spain, using London as home base. The ex and I are friends now – by unspoken arrangement we have decided to be buddies – and she’s offered to put me up at her place in London (spare room), and since she’s also taking a break, she decided that us and a couple of friends take this trip together.
Practically, it’s a great idea. I’d be in company I enjoy, and the ex has done this trip before, so I wouldn’t have to endure tourist pitfalls along the way.
The problem is that odds are she’ll make a move – don’t ask me how I know this, but please accept that I’m right.

And this is where I’m losing sleep, because I’m tempted to say yes when the situation presents itself. It would probably be two weeks of unbelievably fan-fucking-tastic sex all over Europe, and I feel like a kid in a candy store just thinking about it simply because there would be no strings attached. I’m just dying to get this out of my system, but I’m aware of how morally reprehensible this is. I don’t know which way I’d jump when it actually happens, but right now I’m seeing it as one of the perks of the trip. If I was single, then it wouldn’t even be a question – it’d be win-win all the way. I guess I’m afraid that it would break my girlfriend’s heart if she ever found out, and she’d break up with me. More importantly though, even if she never found out, I’d never be able to look at myself in the mirror again, which I’m assuming would make shaving every morning a real bitch.

I feel so cowardly and sleazy it makes me want to gag. I’ve always lived my life on the up and up, and this is something I’d probably never be able to forgive myself for if it happened.
I don’t know what to say, I don’t even know why I’m posting this. It just felt like I needed to get this off my chest, and thought the boards was the best place to do it.

To quote an wise old lady, in the movie Dangerous Liaisons: " If I remember correctly, in such situations all advice is useless".

I’ve been in a similar situation. I was in a relationship that had no future, but the sex was great. The fact that the relationship was an emotional rollercoaster kept me coming back too; there was always just one more problem to solve, and, well, why we were solving that one last problem, why not throw in some steamy last-time sex as well? The trouble was, while solving that last problem inevitably some other problem came up, so we had to get together juuuust once more and solve that one, too. :dubious:

Sex is a very powerful force, and cerebral types like me, and like you described yourself and Euro-ex, are more susceptible to its lure then most, because we are so damned good at finding reasons and excuses to give in to what we want.

I think morals has little to do with your situation. There’s just several emotional, not moral, advantages and disadvantages to the choice you are facing, and I feel you haven’t quite thought about all of them.

For instance, right now you are pretty sure your current GF is the one for you. You are also pretty sure you and Euro-ex didds’t work as a couple. Do you realise how nice it feels to be so sure? You might tell yourself: “Well, seeing Euro-ex the last time will make me even more sure of my choice”. But what if it doesn’t ? How will you feel when you get back, emotionally torn apart if you feel you have to choose between an uncertain long-distance relationship and your current GF? What if you feel you have to give up either one of them? How will you feel then?

Believe me when I tell you that fantastic sex, especially in a not-so-good relationship, is highly addictive. It’s also like getting juuuust one chocolate-cookie: no such thing. If the sex with Euro-ex will be as good and romantically tragic and charged with guilt as you expect it to be, you’ll want more. You’ll want more, and as you can’t have it, with an ocean between you and all that, you’ll suffer emotional and physical withdrawal that will last at least as long as it did last time you and Euro-ex broke up. Is that emotional pain worth it?

Also, if the sex with Euro-ex will be as good and romantically tragic and charged with guilt as you expect it to be, expect your current relationship with your current GF too look plain and dull in comparison. At best, that might spoil your time with her (for you, even if she won’t notice it) for some time; at worst, it might lead you too become cranky with her, you tow will drift apart…maybe even break up. Will the relationship survive that? What if it doesn’t, and you find yourself regretting it years later?

If you have sex with Euro-ex, you won’t be able to tell your current GF. Believe me when I say that a secret grows bigger; there will be more and more things you can’t talk with your GF about. You won’t be able to talk with her about the Euro-ex and how you feel about her and yourself; you can’t share your eurotrip experiences, because all of your stories will be connected to how you feel about Euro-ex. You’ll feel guilty; you’ll feel lonely. She’ll feel lonely. You’ll both feel loneley and you won’t know why exactly. You can’t talk to her or your friends about the choice you’re facing now? How does that feel?

Okay, I’ll take your word on this.

Wrong. There’s strings attached, and you know it.

This statement can go either way. You recognize that doing it would be wrong, but you have a penis and therefore find it difficult to escape the idea. I can relate to that. I think you’ll jump back into romance because that’s the easiest thing. Bad idea, though.

I would assume more of the latter. I don’t know the communications network that goes on here, but it sounds like an affair could occur with few immediate consequences. That’s thin ice.
If you don’t reckon you can look at yourself to shave without some regrets, then you really ought think hard about your options.

It’s okay, man. Those nasty thoughts are your conscience catching up to you. It’s always a good sign when that shows up before you actually do something; it means you’re one who can think stuff through.

It’s always feels silly to look for or give moral/emotional reinforcement over the internet. It can’t hurt too much, if you already know what you should do (and I reckon you do). If you like your current GF, don’t fuck it up. Don’t give yourself a reason to hate yourself. Tell the ex to piss off and find your own fucking way.

Or follow your dick and have fun with what happens.

Hell, and Maastricht said it better.

You obviously know what the wrong and right things to do are in this situation. Be a man and live up to it.

At 67 you’ll have to trust that I’ve faced similar situations. I always made the wrong
decision. I found the love of my life and let her slip through my fingers. We had a
chance to get back together after I finally realized my mistake. Fate intervened and
she died of cancer. That was 20 years ago. I tried to move on w/ my new found
knowledge of what it means to make a commitment, but I never found another
woman who could come even near to what I had.
If you really believe that the one you’re w/ now is the right one, then have the courage
to make that commitment and do not renew your relationship w/ the ex. On the other
hand if you want to keep looking, then go for the opportunities that present
themselves, it’s called hedonism.
Me? I live alone w/ my memories.

No matter what you choose, I imagine you’ll wonder about what could’ve been either way. That much seems to be inevitable, at least to me.

Another thing: you’ll make it extra difficulit for yourself if you think your choice is limited to either
-Going on a Euro-trip, with London-expenses paid, in the sparkling company of Dangerous Miss-We’re-Just-Buddies and the Glamorous London Bunch, or
-Going on a Eurotrip alone, missing the company of your GF and buddies, and not being able to hook up with people you meet there the way you would if you were single.
If that’s your choice, you’ll be either tempted beyond human endurance, or you’ll be noble and utterly miserable.

Why don’t you put off going to Europe untill you can do it with your GF? In the meantime, use the time to:
-Go on a shorter trip with a male buddy, or make a round trip to visit some old friends or relatives. That way, you won’t miss your GF as much.
-Do some projects at home you’ve put off and that will make you feel better once you’ve done them. I’m not suggesting you sit at home counting flowers in the wallpaper, while your holiday slips through your fingers. But what if you made a project out of, say, painting the house? Invite friends and your GF for painting-parties! Or catch up on some fun reading. Where is it written in stone that the best way of recovering from a burn-out at work is to go off on yet another frantic, busy endeavour in another part of the world?

This is my feeling. Add to the “frantic, busy endeavour” a whole boatload of guilt/agonizing over missed opportunities/whatever, and exactly how relaxed does the OP think he’ll be?

Maastricht has already done a masterful job of pointing out the issues; let me add a vote to “so, don’t go to Europe” – for one thing, if you do, it will, sooner or later, one way or the other, destroy your relationship with your current gf.

Remember, there are usually more than two alternatives in any situations: You’ve got more possibilities than “stay home with #1 vs. go frolicking with #2.” Go on a different trip; take a week off and veg at home; plan something for your gf; whatever. This trip to Europe, as planned, is an extremely bad idea if you really want to be with your gf. It’s possible that isn’t what you want, at some weird level, in which case you’re just setting this up as an escape route. If that’s what’s going on, be honest with your gf and break up with her before you cheat on her.

Another vote for “Europe bad.” Just too many problems.

If at all possible, just take a couple of vacation days to get some distance from work. Stack 'em around your normal days off to get some extra space in and hold the rest for a vacation for you and your gf.

And shaving without a mirror isn’t that bad. I shave in the shower all the time with nary a reflective surface to glance at.

Why is it that the OP reminds me of this old joke:

I’ll admit, there is a certain fascination to the question “should I drive off a cliff?”

To briefly recap;[ul][li]You had a relationship with a woman that was wonderful.[]She dumped you. []Now you have another relationship with another woman that is wonderful.You’re wondering if you should go back to the one who dumped you and create some reasons why your current squeeze should dump you.[/ul]Hmmm, a quandary indeed.[/li]
As Maastricht points out, this is not a situation where advice will suffice. If you believe that hitting yourself on the head with a hammer will turn out better this time than last because you have a different hammer, well, go ahead.


well, if you go to europe in ANY situation, you’re going to end up in london. you’re going to end up with her. you know what’s going to happen if you’re with her. you can either set yourself up to fall, or do something more “constructive”.

it might as well be over if you go to europe. know the consequences and act accordingly.

take some time and think rationally. think with the head that requires shaving…(nevermind)…then do whatever it is you come up with doing.

Whatever you decide, I would encourage you to embrace it as your choice. It will really help with the consequences that all choices produce.

Spare us the, “It just happened!”, “We just fell into it!”, “I couldn’t help myself!”, “We both had a lot to drink!”, “What could I do? I didn’t want to hurt her feelings…”. Blather, my friend, and tripe.

Know this though, giving yourself permission to ‘cheat’ has nothing to do with who or where. Even if you go to Europe without ever seeing the ex, other opportunities will present themselves, rest assured.

Were I you, I’d give my head a shake, decide what kind of man I really am, and start looking at travel brochures for other destinations, the South Pacific? Australia? South America?, Latin America?, in short find another location that excites you and go there!

And put this scenario out of your thoughts, it is not helping you, amusing you perhaps, but not helping you.

Good Luck to you and please let us know what you decide!

I think it would be a cruel thing to do to your current gf. Cheating is never “no strings attached,” it will put a wall between you and your gf, even if she never finds out.

My thoughts are that if you actually go through with it, or are seriously considering it, then you aren’t truly in love with your current girlfriend. She isn’t “THE ONE,” the love of your life, etc. Because if she were, you wouldn’t be seriously contemplating this, plain and simple. It seems the only reason you feel guilty about thinking about it is because you know it’s a down-low dickheaded thing to do, not because you truly care for your current girlfriend.

Thanks, y’all.

Well… I did a little bit of soul searching over the last few days and realized that going to London and hooking up with Euro-ex wasn’t really the problem - the fact that I’d even entertain a notion like this (with Euro-ex or anyone, for that matter) was.
And it’s forced me to figure out where I was - emotionally and otherwise - with my girlfriend right now.

The reason I felt like a shitheel is because I thought it reprehensible to even think of cheating, but the conclusion Ive come to is that at some point in their lives, everyone feels the urge to stray. This alone, per se, is not deserving of judgement, but what you do after the urge is.

I love my girlfriend, and I’m not going to do something stupid and transient to jeopardize the relationship we have. It would end the relationship, and I wouldnt be able to rationalize doing something like that to her.

Screw Europe, for now.
So, Maastricht… you wanna grab dem overalls and brushes? :slight_smile:

So… am I to understand then that there will not, in fact, be jackets?

No, but maybe we could have our own overalls. :wink: Good on you, sniperfang!

Yay, sniperfang!

Now remember, do not tell your gf this story in some misguided effort to let her know how much you love her. Seriously.